Rob Gifford

Rob Gifford is the NPR foreign correspondent based in Shanghai.

For five years prior to his assignment in Shanghai in 2010, Gifford reported from NPR’s London Bureau. From 1999 to 2005, he was NPR’s Beijing correspondent.

Gifford has reported from around the world for NPR, especially in Asia and Europe. Two days after the terrorist attacks on the United States in September 2001, Gifford flew to Pakistan for the first of many reporting trips to the Muslim world.

Born and raised in the UK, Gifford worked for three years at the BBC World Service, before moving to the US in 1994 to attend graduate school. He also spent two years at NPR member station WGBH in Boston.

His first book, CHINA ROAD: A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power was published in 2007 by Random House. CHINA ROAD tells of his 3,000 mile odyssey across China, following the country's equivalent of the US Route 66--called Route 312--all the way from Shanghai to the Kazakh border. The book is based upon a seven-part radio series that Gifford filed for Morning Edition.

Gifford holds a BA in Chinese Studies from Durham University, UK, and an MA in Regional Studies (East Asia) from Harvard University.

This month, NPR is examining the many ways China is expanding its reach in the world — through investment, infrastructure, military power and more.

This month, NPR is examining the many ways China is expanding its reach in the world — through investment, infrastructure, military power and more.

After 30 years of mind-bending economic growth, everyone knows about brand China — but very few people can name a Chinese brand. And the reasons for that are not just economic.

In a bustling market near the center of the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, Soray Peah, 24, is testing the ringtones on a cellphone she wants to buy.

This month, NPR is examining the many ways China is expanding its reach in the world — through investments, infrastructure, military power and more.

When the United States took over from Britain as the predominant world power 100 years ago, the transition was like one between brothers — or cousins, at least. And the two countries remain close allies to this day. The rise of China in relation to U.S. predominance presents a somewhat different challenge — with decades of sometimes outright hostility and an ongoing fractious relationship.

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NPR's Rob Gifford reports from Shanghai.

ROB GIFFORD: Rob Gifford, NPR News, Shanghai. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

The sound of running water — clean running water — is not one you have always been able to hear in the ramshackle lean-tos that pass for homes on the edge of Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.

Providing clean water is one of the biggest challenges for governments in the developing world. Clean water charities say thousands of people die every day of preventable diseases as a result of not having clean drinking water, and 90 percent of those who die are younger than 5.

The boom in car ownership in China has brought with it many problems familiar to Americans: bad traffic, of course, but also more pollution. So the Chinese government and the auto companies are trying to push a new generation of environmentally friendly car.

But it's not easy.

Nancy Gioia, Ford's director of global electrification, has the somewhat unenviable task of persuading a Chinese public in the first flush of gasoline-powered capitalism to park the Hummer and roll out the Ford hybrid.

Thousands of truck drivers in the Chinese city of Shanghai staged a third day of protest Friday over rising fuel prices they say are crippling their businesses. Truck drivers blockaded part of the city's port — China's busiest — disrupting the flow of goods.

The protests that began on Wednesday are the latest sign of rising public anger over surging inflation that the country's leaders have failed to tame. They come amid a government crackdown on intellectual and political dissent of any sort.